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Climate Change & Conservation News

Agriculture

Agrivoltaics
Hyperion Systems

Agrivoltaics: Solar panels on farms could be a win-win

Many local food advocates argue that an inadequate portion of the food consumed in Massachusetts is grown there. The short growing season along with high costs for labor and land can make farming in Massachusetts a financially precarious proposition.

Some advocates say that dual-use solar installations have the potential to ease a number of these problems at once…

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Solar Panels Sunflowers
Engie Distributed Solar

Pollinators, solar, and your land trust

There’s a major opportunity to help slow down climate change and ramp up pollinator gardens with community and large-scale solar.

The timing is critical given new research is documenting that climate change is decimating pollinators of all kinds. As one article notes, “it’s a great year for monarch butterflies [but] climate change means that won’t last.”

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C (and thus saving countless species) would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

The good news is that solar pollinator farms can make a big difference. That’s also good news to landowners and farmers who could benefit from the regular income that solar payments provide. For many, that might make the difference between selling out or staying on the land…

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Flooded Farm
Nature's Path Organic

Climate change is here, and it’s becoming harder to farm successfully

Your average farmer may not want to hear about climate change (do any of us, really?) or global warming, but their livelihood puts farmers smack in the crosshairs of the weather, and many of them are already being affected.

Changes in the timing of rains, the frequency and intensity of droughts, floods, heat waves, intense winter blizzards, hurricanes, and tornadoes, as well as the spread of previously unfaced pests and diseases are now become daily and yearly challenges for farmers in many areas around the world.

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Carbon Farming Cycle
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

Carbon farming: good for farmers, ranchers, and climate

Perhaps your land trust can help promote carbon farming in your region.

Marin Agricultural Land Trust is part of a community of scientists, ranchers, agencies and policymakers in and around Marin County, California that is working to develop and advance climate-friendly land use practices, known as carbon farming, that could help make food production part of the climate solution.

Carbon farming is a set of practices that reduce or reverse a farm or ranch’s greenhouse gas emissions. Ranchers and farmers can actually improve their land’s ability to remove carbon from the air—where it contributes to climate change—and instead store it in the soil, where it’s not only harmless but also beneficial to plants.

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Cow
Clean Grid Alliance

Five reasons farmers love wind & solar

If we are going to reduce coal, oil, and natural gas — to save thousands of species from extinction and avoid significant agricultural damage and loss due to extreme weather – plus find ways to make family farms viable in a changing climate, we are going to have to rethink how solar and wind are compatible with our conservation and community goals.

Check out five reasons why farmers often embrace wind and solar. Land trusts can help communities understand that the alternative to gearing towards renewables is often going out of business, selling for development, and family economic stress.

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Whitcomb Farm Solar
Whitcomb Farm Solar

Whitcomb Farm Solar

Dairy prices are dropping through the floor, crop farmers are grappling with extreme weather, and farmer and rancher stress is increasing. For some, renewable energy options can mean the farm or ranch can continue as a working and the family can stay intact.

Established several years ago, in conjunction with a conservation easement in partnership with the Vermont Land Trust, the Whitcomb Farm Solar project is an example of land conservation and renewables working together, to keep the farm intact…

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Farm Landscape

Michigan farmers, residents, praise wind power

Farmers are committing suicide in record numbers—in the US and around the world. Crop and water disasters are a major part of this, resulting in loss of income, massive debt, and unending despair. For some, “farming energy” with solar and wind, along with more traditional agricultural products, may avoid the unhappy reality of selling for development.

“For those committed to farmland conservation programs, Mills said, wind farms and wind turbines help keep farmers living on their farm lands, help attract and retain younger people, and help provide diversified funding streams…”

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